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Published on October 30, 2017

Whole Food Desserts

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Grocery List

Organize your list by category to help save time and stay on track at the market. Purchasing ingredients like grains from bulk foods bins allows you to experiment with new foods and is also a big cost saver!


  • 4 medium pears (Bosc, Bartlett or Anjou, firm/unripe preferable)

Bulk Foods Bins

  • 12 oz Dark Chocolate
  • ½ cup Walnuts
  • ½ cup Cashews
  • 1 ¼ cups rolled Oats
  • 2/3 cup Medjool Dates (dried)


  • 1 pint heavy cream (alternatively could use coconut milk)

Bulk Spices

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon


  • 3-4 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • ¾ cup Honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-4 bags of black tea or rooibos tea
  • 3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • Dark Chocolate Tart
  • Chai Tea Poached Pears
  • Vanilla Cashew Cream

What is a Whole Food? Whole foods are found in simple forms, as they grow in nature, as an example: a pear. Free of artificial flavors, fillers, and preservatives, they usually have a limited ingredient list, or come without a label. Since they are minimally processed, whole foods provide the most nutritional benefit through vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants and fiber.

When choosing chocolate, go for 70% cocoa or higher!

Nutritional Highlights

  • Dark Chocolate has been shown to help decrease blood pressure and promote heart health
  • Higher percentages of cocoa in chocolate are more beneficial – choose 70% dark chocoalte or higher!
  • Pears contain 3-4 times as many phytonutrients in their skin versus their flesh. The skin also contains about half the fiber.
  • Beneficial compounds in pears include antioxidant, antiinflammatory flavonoids, and potentially anti-cancer compounds such as cinnamic acids.

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Fruits & Vegetables

Each fruit and vegetable contains a unique set of vitamins, minerals, and protective phytonutrients and antioxidants. Research continually shows that eating a colorful “rainbow” variety of plant based foods contributes to health and protects against numerous diseases.

Whole Grains & Starches

Whole grains contain complex carbohydrates, fiber, essential fats, minerals, B vitamins and antioxidants. They provide a steady energy source throughout the day, balance blood sugar and regulate appetite. Examples of whole grains include: barley, brown rice, buckwheat (kasha), bulgur, couscous, millet, oats, polenta (coarse cornmeal), quinoa, rye, whole wheat, and wild rice. Whole food starches include: sweet potatoes, yams, potatoes (red, purple, yellow), parsnip, rutabaga, jicama, celery root, taro, turnip, and beets.

Nuts & Seeds

Nuts and seeds are most healthy in their raw, natural form. They provide an excellent source of protein, fiber, minerals and vitamins, especially vitamin E, B vitamins, calcium and magnesium. When choosing nut and seed butters look for ones made without hydrogenated oil which contributes to heart disease. Good examples include: Almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, pumpkin, sunflower, flax, chia, and sesame seeds.


Animal foods are healthiest when the animals have been raised naturally without antibiotics or added hormones. Choose animal products from pasture raised, free range or wild animals that have eaten their natural diet and/or are grass fed vs grain fed.

Fats and Oils

Use olive oil, coconut oil, butter or ghee for sautéing foods because they are more heat stable than polyunsaturated oils such as sunflower, safflower, and sesame. “Cold-pressed” and “extra virgin” plant based oils are best because the vitamin E and antioxidants are intact. Beneficial omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish, flax and walnut oils. Flax and walnut oils can be used in dressings and sauces.


Seasonings enhance the flavor of food and contribute important nutrients by providing vitamins, minerals and health supporting antioxidants. Examples of seasonings, spices and herbs include: basil, cilantro, dill, mint, orange zest, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, marjoram, peppers, garlic, and onions.


Refined white sugar can be exchanged for less refined sweeteners that contain nutrients and are less likely to cause disruption in blood sugar levels when consumed in moderation. Examples include: honey, pure maple syrup, coconut sugar, fruit juice concentrate, stevia, or monk fruit extract. Size down your sweeteners! 5 grams of sugar is equal to one teaspoon. Limit intake of added sugars to about 5% of daily calorie intake (20 – 25 grams per day). With sugar, less is better.

This side of handout from Bastyr University’s “Whole Foods Core Eating Plan” (12/2014).

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